Two home defeats on the spin may see Sheffield United happy to hit the road this weekend, where the TV cameras will capture the Blades taking on Yorkshire rivals Bradford City.
Bradford City: Williams, Darby, Burke, McArdle, Meredith, Knott, Marshall, Liddle, Morris, Cole, Hanson.
Sheffield United: Howard, Freeman, Collins, Edgar, McEveley, Campbell-Ryce, Basham, Baxter, Adams, Sharp, Sammon.
ONE TO WATCH
Devante Cole has scored two goals in three outings since joining Bradford City on a two year contract, with the option of a third, following his release by Manchester City during the close season. Phil Parkinson, the Bradford manager, cited the striker’s pace as a major factor behind the club’s decision. Cole’s former club, meanwhile, inserted a sell-on clause, believed to be worth around 30 per cent of any future transfer fee, into the deal which took him to West Yorkshire. Cole, whose father Andrew represented Newcastle and Manchester United among others, has been capped by England at under-16, under-17, under-18 and under-19 level. He netted five times in 19 league appearances during a loan spell with Barnsley last season before finishing the campaign at MK Dons. Cole, aged 20, nearly moved to Old Trafford as a youngster but elected for Eastlands where he impressed in the UEFA Youth League and a pre-season tour of South Africa.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Neil Swarbrick - Promoted to the Select Group of Referees in 2011, the 49-year-old Lancastrian has made a rapid rise through the ranks after only becoming a match official six years before being added to the National List of assistant referees. Swarbrick’s first season as an official saw him average 1.97 cautions per game with this figure rising to a career high 3.87 in 2014/15. This term, he is averaging exactly five. Swarbrick’s previous involvement with Sheffield United came in January when he oversaw the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
Today’s match at the Coral Windows Stadium will be the 63rd installment of a rivalry which started when Sheffield United triumphed 3-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday 3 October 1908. The South Yorkshire club have beaten Bradford City 27 times since, which translates to a win ratio of 45 per cent. They have avoided defeat in 73 per cent of their contests. Although three of the previous five meetings between United and City have ended all-square, including April’s fixture at Bramall Lane, goals from Bob Harris and Marc McNulty saw the visitors claim all three points during the corresponding fixture last term. United, then managed by Nigel Clough, climbed to seventh in the League One table as a result; 11 points behind leaders Bristol City.
Bradford 6/4 Draw 12/5 Sheffield Utd 17/10
WORTH A PUNT?
Billy Sharp will be hoping to atone for the chances missed against Colchester in midweek and is 5/1 to open the scoring at Valley Parade